One of the advanced breath mastery skills we teach, and practice is “sucking” tension and fatigue out of the muscles with the inhale and releasing it from the body with the exhale.
With practice, anyone can learn to use the inhale to pull energy from tense tired muscles, and then vent it from the system with the exhale. If you are an athlete, fitness junkie, or a high performer, this is an extremely valuable skill to develop, and so it is well worth practicing.
For example, when your legs get tired and sore while running, you can use the inhale to suck that tension and fatigue up from your leg muscles and release it with the exhale.
To begin this practice right now, tense your left arm and simultaneously relax and loosen the right.
Now inhale and imagine drawing energy from the tense left arm and sending it across and out the relaxed right arm with your exhale.
Do this a few times, then reverse it. Relax and loosen your left arm while tensing and tightening the right. Now draw energy from the tense right arm up across and out the relaxed left arm.
You can also get in the pushup position, twist to one side and hold yourself up with one arm. Relax the other arm, let it hang loosely and practice drawing the tension and fatigue up from the weight bearing arm and exhaling it out the relaxed arm.
You can also focus on any other part of your body that begins to feel stressed, tense, or tired. Gather that energy up with your inhale and send it out your relaxed arm.
Do this a few times, then lay on your back, puddle out, and meditate on your energy. Notice that you feel something like an energized calm. This skill helps us to relax and recharge on the go, and it quickly notches up our endurance levels.
In general, you want to remember to relax any muscles that you don’t need to do the required work or maintain the stressed position. A good exercise for this is to tense and tighten both arms and fists as much as possible, while deliberately relaxing your jaw and neck and face, or any other place where there is unnecessary tension.
You can also relax your arm and shoulder while making a very tight fist. When you move or swing your arm, your fist should feel like a ball on the end of a chain. A very powerful and dangerous weapon!
Recently, we have been practicing an advanced upgrade to this kind of training.
It is very useful when you need to relieve stress and tension and fatigue, but you can’t afford to drop into parasympathetic rest and recover mode because you are engaged in an important activity.
When you need to perform, when you need to remain charged and ready—locked and loaded, relaxing completely or puddling out, is not an option.
So the skill is in how to transform tension and fatigue through breathing alone, rather than dissolving it through relaxation.
Here’s the practice. Breathe (inhale) into the area of tension. And then with the exhale, send the energy toward yourself instead of releasing it out of your body.
Press the energy deeper into your system with the exhale. It is similar to the practice of Iron Shirt Chi Kung, where you use the breath to pack chi into your fascia. It also touches on one of the principles of “de-reflexive breathing.”
I like the analogy of a French coffee press. When we exhale, we are pressing the energy into our system rather than releasing out of the body. You can use the “ujayi” breath sound to help the process and make it more alive.
Do this for a few minutes. Breathe into your tired muscles or tense body parts, and then with the exhale send this energy in toward yourself, toward your center, rather than venting it from the system.
After some time, lay down on your back, puddle out, and meditate on your body and your energy. You will notice that the “heavy” tense energy is gone but the muscles and body are still charged, but with a “lighter” form of energy.
We all have the ability to transform energy, to transform dark heavy energy—tension and fatigue—into light life force energy. We can transform pain and suffering into healing and growth. We can transform negative emotional energy into creative, life giving energy.
Good luck in your practice, and many blessings on your path!